Are you ready to test your British English slang? Learn 10 British slang words and colloquial expressions including:
– skive and bunk off
– go spare
– fancy someone
– be snookered
– have a butcher’s
Watch Vicki quiz Jay on the meanings and play along.
Click here to see another video on British English slang
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Do you want to learn some English slang?
We’re looking at 10 British slang expressions today.
British ones? But I’m American
Yeah, and I’m British. So, I’m going to test you.
A little while ago I gave Jay a quiz on British slang.
And I won a prize.
He did very well. I’ll put the link here.
And everyone enjoyed it, so we have another 10 words today. I hope to do well again.
Um, but some of the words are more difficult this time.
Uh oh. All right, give me the first one.
Hmm, S-K-I-V-E. I would pronounce that ‘skive’ but,
Yes, that’s right, skive.
I have absolutely no idea what this means.
OK, let me give you an example. Um, she hated school so she skived off a lot.
Ah, so she played hooky. She didn’t go to school.
Yes, in British English we usually say ‘skive’ or ‘skive off’ or ‘bunk off’
Yes, it’s another slang term for the same thing. Skiving is when you don’t go to school or work when you should. For example, he says
he’s too ill to come to work, but I think he’s skiving.
Tosh. It’s always a funny word when I hear tosh. I think it just means nonsense or rubbish.
You’re quite right. Yes, use it in a sentence.
Um, that offer I received in the mail that promised me 10 percent a year is tosh.
That worked. Tosh means nonsense or rubbish. So, don’t talk tosh means don’t talk nonsense. OK, what does this mean?
Go spare. I’m gonna guess here that it means go with the least possible. Use as few of something as necessary.
Oh, good guess. totally wrong.
Ha, what does it mean?
I’ll give you some clues. I’ll give you some examples. Um, I’d go spare if I didn’t have my mobile phone.
Stir crazy, you’d go nuts. You’d go crazy. You’d go insane.
What does spare have to do with being insane?
Let me give you another context. I forgot to lock the office door last night. Don’t tell Kathy or she’ll go spare.
Ok, I’ve got it.
So it’s like she’ll go… go nuts but in a way that she gets very angry and very worried. So if you go spare, you often lose your temper. For example, Don’t tell mum I skived off school. She’ll go spare.
Jammy. That’s… That could be lots of different things. I know ‘jammies’ I’ve heard you use for pajamas.
Right, but jammy? I mean we get ‘in a jam’ in American English meaning we’re in trouble. What’s ‘jammy’?
No, it’s not the same as ‘in a jam.’ We could say that too when we’re in trouble. But a person could be jammy if they have a stroke of
good luck and it was purely down to chance and possibly they didn’t deserve it. We say someone is jammy when something good has happened to them by chance, but they didn’t make much effort. So they didn’t really deserve the good luck.
So when we’re playing miniature golf and you get the ball in the hole, you’re jammy.
You could say to me, ‘you jammy thing.’
You jammy thing.
Yes, and it’s because I have no skills at this game and therefore it was strange that I got the ball in the hole. Um, but on the other
hand, if I win at Scrabble then you couldn’t say ‘you jammy thing’ because I always win at Scrabble because I’m very good at it.
She’s very good at it.
He, he, he, OK, another one.
Fancy someone. I know what this is. Yeah, I fancy you.
I fancy you too.
When you fancy someone, you like them a lot.
You find them sexually attractive. If you fancy someone, it means you’re attracted to them in a sexual way. so I could say, Mmm, I really
like Jay. I hope he fancies me too. And then hopefully, they’ll ask you on a date and then you never know but you might…
Snog. To snog, I know this one too. it’s to kiss.
That’s right, kiss passionately. If two people snog, they kiss and usually for a length of time. For example, the teacher caught
Jim and Mandy snogging behind the bike sheds.
Kerfuffle. I… I heard this years ago from Vicki and it really confused me. It means something that’s very, very difficult. So, if
something is very complicated, it’s a kerfuffle to do.
Ah, nice try. No. No, it’s when there’s when there’s a lot of noise and activity and commotion and for no good purpose. It, it’s…
There’s lot of disturbance and making a fuss and getting excited about things. So like when Jay’s cooking a meal in the kitchen,
there’s often a lot of kerfuffle. There’s a lot of activity and commotion but nothing much gets done.
I always thought it was because I had so many things happening at once. I had rice here, I had water here, I had pasta here. That’s a
That is a kind of kerfuffle when you’re in charge. A kerfuffle is when there’s a lot of noise and activity and excitement. And it’s an
unnecessary fuss. We might ask, ‘what’s all the kerfuffle about?’ And it’s like asking ‘what’s all the fuss about?’ Cooking should be a calm and peaceful activity. OK, next one.
Miffed. Ok, well I think this means I’m annoyed because I’ve been snubbed in some way.
That’s quite a good explanation. So can you use it in a sentence?
Yes, I got miffed when somebody stepped in front of me in the line for the bank.
Yes, or in the queue.
In the what?
Somebody stepped front of you…
In the what? In the queue.
In the queue?
So miffed is when you’re a little annoyed by someone’s behavior towards you. For example, ‘I was miffed when he didn’t call me.’
Ok, snookered, or I think you might say snookered. I think it comes from the game of snooker which is a…
right, ha, I think it means you’ve been cheated.
Ah, in American English snookered means to be cheated. But it has a different meaning in British English.
OK, When you can’t do something that you want to do because of some reason, some obstacle in your way, then you’re snookered. And it
comes from the game of snooker because if a ball’s in the way and you can’t get your ball in the hole, then you’re snookered.
OK. So for example, suppose you want to get your clothes cleaned before your job interview tomorrow, but the dry cleaners is
closed. Then you’re snookered.
Have a butcher’s
Have a butcher’s. I know this is cockney rhyming slang but I don’t know what it means. I’ve forgotten. Have a butcher’s.
You’re right. I’ll give you a point for cockney rhyming slang. Cockney rhyming slang comes from the east end of London. And it was
often the language the prisoners in jail would use so that the people who were guarding them wouldn’t understand them. And what you do is
you have a phrase like ‘a butcher’s hook’ and you find a word that rhymes with hook which in this case is… look.
Oh, I see.
And then you use a butcher’s and it means a look. And we should do a video about them all one day ’cause there are lots of them. So, to have a butcher’s is cockney rhyming slang. And it means to have a look. So, can I have a butcher’s means can I have a look.
So, have we finished?
How did I do?
Well, not as well as last time but that’s because I gave you more difficult words.
So, no prize for me this time?
No. Actually, I’m going to win the prize.
What is it?
You can have a butcher’s if you want. It’s…
Dinner for two at the Indian restaurant, again.
We had a nice time there last time.
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